I tend to find myself using different fingerings for the same chords depending on the context. Here’s a lesson that goes through what the alternate fingerings are and when to use them.

I do rely on a little theory to see why these fingerings might be preferred. Don’t worry nothing too crazy. The basic theory notion is that whatever key we’re in we count up 6 notes from that. Example:

Key of C: C-D-E-F-G-A

Key of G: G-A-B-C-D-E

Key of D: D-E-F#-G-A-B

*Watch out for the F# in D!

The 2nd, 3rd and 6th chords are minor:

Key of C: C-Dm-Em-F-G-Am

Key of G: G-Am-Bm-C-D-Em

Key of D: D-Em-F#m-G-A-Bm

That’s not so bad! So this helps us see the benefit of these situational chords throughout the different keys.

In the Key of C I tend to use a Fmaj7 instead of a F and a G using my 3rd, 2nd and 4th fingers. In the Key of G I tend to use a Cadd9 instead of a C and a Em using my 1st and 2nd fingers. For D I barre my first finger for the A and use my 1st and 2nd fingers for my Em again.

How does this help? Well if we just run through the chords as 1-2-3-4-5-6 we won’t see any improvement on going between chords but if we put them into common chord progressions we will:

1 – 4 – 5 – 1
C – F(maj7) – G – C
G – C(add9) – D – G
D – G – A – D

1 – 5 – 6 – 4
C – G – Am – F(maj7)
G – D – Em – C(add9)
D – A – Bm – G

1 – 6 – 4 – 5
C – Am – F(maj7) – G
G – Em – C(add9) – D
D – Bm – G – A

How do we know when we can/should use these? 90% of the time if the first chord is C or Am… think of the key of C situational chords! If the first chord is G or Em… think of the key of G situational chords! If the first chord is D or Bm… think of the key of D situational chords.


-Related Lessons-

1:06 – Basic Guitar Overview + Note System | BO 1/10
1:18 – Transposing (Chords as Numbers)?! | UGT 5/8
2:01 – Playing Open Chords | BO 4/10
2:08 – Open 7th Chords
2:31 – Building Chords?! | UGT 2/8
3:13 – Rhythms – Strumming the Guitar | BO 5/10
4:42 – Add 9 Chords
7:19 – Transitions | Switching Between Chords Steps


Situational Open Chords, Theory, Rhythms, Open/Barre/Sus Chords, 7th Chords

Play Alongs & Backing Tracks